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Unrealisitic expectations...

Nurses   (1,828 Views 15 Comments)

scattycarrot has 10 years experience as a BSN, RN and specializes in ITU/Emergency.

4,332 Profile Views; 357 Posts

Ok, this may see a bit random but I was watching Greys Anantomy last night(on DVD) and it got me thinking about the publics unrealistic expectations of healthcare. It seems to me, in my experience as an ER nurse, that peple who have no medical training seem to think that ill health or trauma, etc...can be cured by a magic wave of the Doctors wand and that having an operation is low risk. Why do people fail to grasp that any operation has its risks? I can't tell you the amount of times patients and relatives have just said flippantly, "why don't you just operate and/or put them to sleep" as if there are no complications to doing so. I realise its part of our job to educate but it seems that even when you point out the risks (infection, DVT, PE and oh yeah, that small thing called death) hardly any one seems actually grasp the potential magnitude of problems that can result from surgery. And I am talking about any surgery as I am sure we have all heard stories of being dying folowing so-called 'minor surgery'. It was a statement by Bailey(on Greys Anatomy) that got me thinking about this when she said.."Sometimes you just get people on the table and they just die" and it is very true. With comments like this and some of the stories they show I think this programme is doing a good job of showing the real world as opposed to programmes like House or ER that are good entertainment but show pateints surviving the stangest medical problems and numerous cycles of CPR, etc.. Its not just this either, people just don't seem to accept that there should be any illness or ill health these days and head to the ER or doctors with any miniscule ache and pain and expect us to wave that magic wand again. Why don't people take analgesia, for example? People present with a week history of backpain or similiar and you ask them what meds they have taken and they say something like...'none, I dont want to mask the symptons'...ahhhhhhh!!!!!Or they have a viral illness and want antibiotics! I could go on but I have rambled enough!

So whats led to this? Has the medical profession shrouded their work in such mystery that this is the result? Is it lack of education? Is it the media?Or, am I talking nonsense?

Just interested to hear your thoughts??!!

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classicdame is a MSN, EdD and specializes in Hospital Education Coordinator.

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Sometimes I wish there were more honesty and less drama, but let's face it, people like drama. Even my own family are guilty of this. I have wasted a lot of breath trying to "set them straight" then finally decided it was not worth the effort. People believe what they want to believe.

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shellsincanada has 15 years experience.

63 Posts; 1,958 Profile Views

unrealistic expectations of almost never seeing a nurse but having your doctors do everything( meds, ivs, ) and are at your bedside constantly. House and Greys are soo fun to watch but so unrealistic that way. I find people are quite amazed at how little they see their md in the hospital.

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herecomestrouble has 25 years experience and specializes in geriatrics,med/surg,vents.

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A few years ago I had a pt,vent,feeding tube,persistant vegetative state,she had had complications during a procedure to remove hemmorhoids.Most people would not consider that a dangerous surgery.I refuse to watch "House" it makes me so mad to see the crap they show on that series.It always used to crack my son up to hear me yelling at the TV everytime they did some ridiculous thing.

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ShayRN has 18 years experience and specializes in Corrections, Cardiac, Hospice.

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I think sometimes even the docs forget that death comes easy. I will never forget the urologist who broke down in my co-worker's arms when the TURP he did 5 hours before coded and died on our unit.

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No matter how much the nurse who does the pre-surg prep/tests talks with the patient about pain expectations post operatively, it seems the patient absolutely never gets it.

I wish I had a buck for every time a patient demanded to know "why I'm in so much pain" when he'd just had a major abdominal operation that cut him apart end to end. Or an ortho pt who had no idea that getting that new knee or hip would actually HURT. And after you medicate them, position them, ice them, etc to the point where you're satisfied they are in the best shape they can be in, they still want to know why they feel ANY pain! Ummm...because some guy just cut out /cut apart some of your body parts and sewed them back together, with some pieces missing and others replaced with nifty plastic parts?!?

"Can't you GIVE him something? He's uncomfortable!" "I gave him something. Lots of somethings." "Well, give him MORE!" "I want him breathing, thanks."

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I think people fail to recognize that surgery has risks because most people, especially younger people, haven't had surgery.

You can die, just from being put to sleep, you can become irreversably brain damaged, through any error, or "glitch" that isn't anyone's fault, just from the anesthesia...never mind what all else can go wrong during the surgery.

That is why when I hear about children as young as 5 and 6, plastic surgeons doing surgery on these kids to remove minor imperfections, etc. I don't know what is going through the parent's heads.

My daughter has a very pronounced vein in her forehead between her eyes and part of it goes down on the top portion of her nose. Because she's young, it's cute, because it flares up when she gets really mad. However, when she gets in school, it won't be long before some kid will say something about it, then all she will want is it being gone. What is a mother to do? Very tough call.

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CIRQL8 has 13 years experience and specializes in Only the O.R. and proud of it!.

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People do not realize that medicine is NOT an exact science. We cannot wave a tricorder over them and know what is wrong. Things need to be ruled out before a presumption can be made. The problem with people is that they are all so individual. My headache may not bother Mr. A, but may put Mr. X in bed for the day.

People also refuse to acknowledge their own mortality. Life expectance has gone up, but diseases that humans never lived long enough to suffer from now are commonplace. Some experts say that Lincoln would have lived had he got shot with today's medicine available to him. When the lay person hears things like this and sees the drama (fictional) on TV, why would they not think that everything will always be hunky-dory?

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Pepper The Cat has 33 years experience as a BSN, RN and specializes in Gerontology.

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I find many people want what I call the "Star Trek" cure. Lie on the table, wave a light over the body a couple of times and hey, presto - you are cured! Better than ever! No Side Effects!

I tell pts - real life isn't like TV. Surgery hurts and getting better is hard work!

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mvanz9999 is a RN and specializes in Accepted...Master's Entry Program, 2008!.

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My daughter has a very pronounced vein in her forehead between her eyes and part of it goes down on the top portion of her knows. Because she's young, it's cute, because it flares up when she gets really mad. However, when she gets in school, it won't be long before some kid will say something about it, then all she will want is it being gone. What is a mother to do? Very tough call.

Tell her that Angelina Jolie has the same thing. :idea:

And by the way, I think you are right that people don't consider the danger. With all the plastic surgery/bariatric surgery shows on TV, it's no wonder. Looks simple enough, while it actually isn't.

I also think it's incorrect to hint that the slightest "glitch" can kill someone, because I don't even think that's necessarily true. Everything can be run at 100%, and the person might still die from anesthesia due to an internal reaction that could not have been predicted.

I also think the term "minor surgery" should be removed. There is no such thing. I might be overly cautious, but better safe than sorry.

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I think part of it could be because the lay public has not seen what we have. In our litigous society, every product comes with 1,001 warnings. People assume that surgery is the same way, like, "Yeah, they have to tell me that. But it never really happens". They don't take it seriously the way we (who have seen it happen!!!) do.

I also think people assume they are somehow protected - "The Dr. wouldn't want to do it if it wasn't safe." Or "This is a good hospital so nothing bad will happen to me."

My favorite is the family who was upset about having to wait >15 minutes to see their father after surgery. Sorry, ya'll. I was trying to stabilize this thing called "blood pressure." :uhoh3:

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Tell her that Angelina Jolie has the same thing. :idea:

You are so right on that one! Ha!

I also think it's incorrect to hint that the slightest "glitch" can kill someone, because I don't even think that's necessarily true.

Well, I didn't "word" myself right and let me further explain what I meant by that.

When I said the "slightest glitch" can kill someone, what I was referring to is things like anyting you open a body up, you are exposing it to increased levels of infection, and it only takes one agressive bacteria or virus cell to turn a normal recovery into a nightmare. Odd things like that are rare, but if the odds are 1 in ____. If you are that 1...then to you, it's 100%

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